The iPLEDGE Program and Accutane
The iPLEDGE ProgramThere are strict rules for prescribing Accutane. Each prescription must last for no more than 30 days, and you need a new prescription each time you need more capsules (refills are not allowed). All people must get authorization from the iPLEDGE program (your healthcare provider will do this). All prescribers, patients, and pharmacies involved must be registered with the iPLEDGE program.
Women of childbearing potential (all women capable of becoming pregnant) must use two reliable forms of birth control, unless they commit to absolute mandatory abstinence from sex. Many healthcare providers will not allow their patients to rely on abstinence, as many sexually active young women claim to be abstinent, especially when a parent is present.
The two methods of birth control chosen must be used faithfully for one month before starting Accutane, while taking the drug, and for one month after stopping treatment. At least one of the birth control methods must be highly reliable, such as:
- Tubal ligation (having your "tubes tied")
- Vasectomy for your partner(s)
- An intrauterine device (IUD)
- Hormonal birth control (such as birth control pills, patches, rings, implants, or injections).
Before starting Accutane, women of childbearing potential must have two negative blood or urine pregnancy tests. One of these tests may be done at your healthcare provider's office, but the other must be done at a specially certified lab. Thereafter, you must have a negative pregnancy test each month (from a lab) before you can get more Accutane.
You must pick up your Accutane from the pharmacy within seven days of your pregnancy test, or you will need another pregnancy test. Your healthcare provider needs to enter the results of your pregnancy test and list your two forms of birth control on the iPLEDGE Web site each month in order for your prescription to be authorized. You must access the iPLEDGE Web site (or call the iPLEDGE telephone line) before starting Accutane, every month while taking it, and one month after stopping it in order to answer certain questions.
While these precautions might seem excessive, they are in place for good reasons. No one method of birth control is 100 percent effective, and by the time you realize you are pregnant, it is usually too late.